Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Do as you would be done by, is the surest method that I know of pleasing.

Earl of Chesterfield

S North
Both ♠ K Q 4 3
 7 6
 9 8 2
♣ Q 10 9 7
West East
♠ J 8
 10 9 8 5 3
 K 7 4
♣ A 5 3
♠ 10 9 6 5 2
 A Q
 A 6 5
♣ K 8 4
♠ A 7
 K J 4 2
 Q J 10 3
♣ J 6 2
South West North East
1 1 Dbl. Pass
1 NT All pass    


This month I have been running deals from Larry Cohen’s recent book: “Larry Cohen Teaches Declarer Play at Notrump”. So let me run a deal which shows him as the hero, in a no-trump contract.

In the 2000 world championships, Larry as South played one no-trump on the lead of the heart 10 to East’s ace. At trick two, the heart queen was returned. How should South play?

Larry counted five sure tricks, and could develop two more from either minor. However, whichever suit he worked on, declarer would have to knock out both the ace and king. So what is the potential problem?

Every suit is at least double-stopped, but the defense is threatening to take seven tricks (the minor suit ace-kings and three heart tricks) before declarer can come to his seven. Look what would happen if South won the heart king at trick two and went to work on one of the minors. Whichever minor he tackled, West could win and play a third round of hearts, establishing his suit. He would still have an entry, and declarer would lose the race.

Once you identify the problem, the solution is not hard. You must allow East to win his heart queen at trick two. In the unlikely event that he produces a third heart, the suit will be four-three and there is nothing to worry about.

Equally, even if East shifts to spades, declarer has plenty of time to set up his seven tricks by playing on one minor or the other.

This is a hand where your values, such as they are, appear to be working overtime. You don’t have a lot, but I think you have just enough to bid three spades. It may be a slight stretch, I admit, but it feels right to get in to the auction while you have the chance.


♠ K Q 4 3
 7 6
 9 8 2
♣ Q 10 9 7
South West North East
Pass 2 Dbl. 3

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact